Wachtel & Miniutti Shine At Wingfoot XC Classic

For the first time ever perhaps in the history of Georgia HS Cross Country, a race was held 'Under the Lights' on an cross country course. The Atlanta Track Club invested alot of bucks and brought in portable industrial lighting, which must have lit up Sam Smith Park like a rural town for a Friday night football game. 

(photos by Atlanta Track Club unless otherwise noted)

Championship Boys

Justin Wachtel roars as he breaks the tape in the Boys Championship Race

The Championship Boys race was one for the ages as the '3 Kings' of Georgia HS XC went head to head and took it all the way down to the tape with junior Justin Wachtel of Mary Persons seizing the win in the final 50 meters, clocking a 15:11.80  Sully Shelton (another junior) hung tough taking runner-up honors at 15:13.70 while leading the Hoyas to the team title. Senior Myles Collins of Archer was closing and just a step back placing 3rd overall at 15:13.80  Jr. Andrew Jones from North Hall HS crossed 4th in 15:20, which is amazing after he took a spill on the final hay bale near mile 1.  Sr. Cole Heron of  Pope HS rounded out the top 5 individuals turning in a time of 15:30. Sam Rich of Lakeside Evans (6th) and Zachary Roe of Westminster (7th) both at 15:34

Harrison's boys were spectacular taking the Championship Team title

6A Harrison is becoming a force to be reckoned with this season as they easily displaced all of the top 10 All-Classes squads below them (except for Brookwood who was not there)The Hoyas had an amazing team average time of 16: 05 with a victory margin of 64 points.. Following Shelton across the line were Noah Connelly 21st (15:55), Kaden McVey 35th (16:13), Mark Ravenscraft 47th (16:29) and Brian Boyle 59th (16:35) Pope (another 6A squad) ran very well taking runnerup team honors having 3 runners in the top 25 led by Heron's 5th (15:30), twin bro KC Heron 16th (15:49) and William Brown 22nd (15:59) Lambert was only 2 points behind the Hounds' paced by Cooper Bocko's 8th place effort of 15:35 along with Colin Chapman 24th (16:01)

Championship Girls

Hannah Miniutti of Blessed Trinity breaks the tape seizing the Girls Overall title

It was another battle of the best in Georgia in the Championship Girls contest with most of the state's elite runners entered in the race as well as powerful squads the like of Marist, St.Pius X, South Forsyth, Hillgrove and Blessed Trinity. Many expected upfront it would be a battle between McKenna Trapheagen of Woodland, Samantha Rogers from Auburn, Reagan Mahoney of Atlanta International and Madelynne Cadeau of South Forsyth. But, in the final race of the evening, Hannah Miniutti of Blessed Trinity and Morgan Vaden of St. Pius had taken the spotlight working their way to the front, with Miniutti surging down the homestretch for the win clocking a 17:54, with Vaden hanging on to the runnerup spot at 17:56.70 Rogers of Auburn placed 3rd in 17:59, Mahoney crossed 4th going 18:10, Mari Cagle-Lockhart of Daniel (SC) went 18:12 just nipping Trapheagen of Woodland also 18:12  

Marist Girls 2019 Wingfoot XC Team Champs (photo by Marist)

Mighty 7A Auburn (defending Bama' champs) were favored to win the Girls team race, but 4A Marist has been on a roll the past couple of races after being ranked behind St. Pius X. The Lady War Eagles strength upfront and depth thru their 6th runner was too much for the field taking the title besting 4A rival St.Pius X by 27 points. Leading the way for Marist were seniors Emily Little who placed 11th overall posting a 18:21 afollowed by Kathleen Schellman taking 12th going 18:23. Nora Solomon was 29th (19:06), Nicole Pizzo 40th (19:20) and Sofia Laskowski 41st (19:21)

Coach Lisle commented, "We're very proud of how the girls raced last night.  The atmosphere at the meet was incredible, and we were a little worried about the kids getting out too fast because of the excitement.  But, we're a senior heavy team, and the girls showed a lot of emotional control, especially early on.  We wanted our top two girls, seniors Emily Little and Kathleen Schellman, to key off of Mary Brady from St. Pius, which is exactly what they did.  They moved strong in the second mile, and maintained through the finish for big personal bests.

Our biggest strength is in our pack this year, however, Nora Solomon separated early from the rest of the group ran tough for another personal best at 19:06.   Our mantra for the night was "gas," and Sofia Laskowski and Nicole Pizzo motored through the field in the last 1400m, and that's what really won the race for us.  Another senior, Emma McEvoy was just behind them in 19:26. LJ Watson took a fall early on and got spiked in the head and just about everywhere else, but still managed to run sub-20 in a gutsy performance.

We're seeing signs that this is one of the best teams we've ever had- right up there with the 2014 team.  The girls love each other and believe in each other.  We recognize that this is the strongest AAAA field there's ever been.  St.  Pius is a truly incredible team, and will only continue to improve.  They will be tough to beat at State.  That's as it should be.  Blessed Trinity and Oconee County are special teams too.  We love competing against them"

St. Pius X had a great race though, and finishing only 27 points back in a large fast field like this, bodes well for them come November.. Vaden led the Golden Lions' hunt in 2nd, with Mary Brady 7th (18:16) and Catherine Breault 22nd (18:58) Auburn and Brentwood (TN) were 3rd/4th teamwise, but South Forsyth and Blessed Trinity came down to a 6th runner tiebreak to determine 5th, with South taking the nod. 

Varsity Boys A Race

Jonathan Greene from Evans HS enjoys his victory in the Varsity Boys A Race (photo by Paul Vaupel)

Jonathan Greene of Evans HS used his strength in the final mile to capture the Individual title posting a 15:52 Samuel Garringer from Hart County was impressive taking runnerup honors at 15:57 with Jackson Borden of Lovett 3rd posting a 15:59  Roswell came out as team champs with Gainesville HS 2nd, Lovett 3rd and Wesleyan 4th. 
Varsity Girls A Race

Kayla Gholar of Richmond Hill takes the Varsity Girls A win
Richmond Hill's Kayla Gholar was in a tussle thru the halfway point with Katy Earwood of Evans and Ashley Thompson from Gainesville, but began to pull away in the final winning comfortably clocking a 18:34  Earwood hung in there taking 2nd overall at 18:47 and Elle Mezzio of Riverwood placed 3rd in 18:55  In the team race Dunwoody clipped Johns Creek by 1 points taking the win with Holy Innocents 3rd followed by Richmond Hill.

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